Learning Cursive
Susan Ohanian
Eons ago, we learned Cursive in 1st grade. My teacher, who was an ancient disciplinarian, asked me to stay in at recess and teach Richard how to make a capital I while she went out with the other kids. Dutifully, I showed Richard how to make an I, and he then picked up chalk and filled every board in the room.

I never understood why Mme. Battleaxe was so upset when she returned and saw that Richard’s I’s put the bottom swirl to the right, not the left. I knew it was an I, she knew it was an I. What was the big deal? Years later, when I transferred from teaching 7th grade to 3rd, my Horror was where kids learned Cursive. Spell that Curse–ive.

Susan is a former teacher who maintains a deep interest and strong links to her educational experiences. New York Times Reporter Emily Rueb said in her column on April 13 that, while due to Common Core standards “cursive has been relegated to nearly extinct tasks like writing thank-you cards and signing checks, rumors of its death may be exaggerated.”

More on rear-view mirrors
Hans Ohanian
I continue to be puzzled by the Selectboard’s resistance to the adoption of a bicycle rear-view mirror ordinance. This inaction is in sharp contrast to the unhesitating immediate approval at the April 22 Selectboard meeting of a permit for yet another bike race on our roads. I find it passing strange that a race (with a potential of mayhem) gets rubberstamped for approval, whereas a rear-view mirror ordinance (with a potential of avoiding mayhem) is set aside for dithering ‘til the cows come home.

Am I experiencing some weird Alice-in-Wonderland dream, in which the Selectboard follows the rules of logic of the Queen of Hearts?

An acquaintance offered me an explanation of the Selectboard’s failure to act. He told me that the Selectboard is adamant about not creating a police force of its own and wants to make do with the 8 ½ hours of enforcement per week contracted with the State Police. Enforcement of additional ordinances doesn’t fit into this framework. But I think that this enforcement issue is a red herring. Charlotte has many ordinances that operate by voluntary compliance, without any police enforcement. For instance, the ordinances posted at our Park and Wildlife Refuge (no motorized vehicles, no bicycles, no alcohol, no pets, no hunting, no firearms) are not enforced by the police but by the occasional intervention of good citizens who politely admonish a violator to cease and desist. Likewise, when we see a violator of a mirror ordinance, we don’t need to call 911. All that’s needed is a little comment: “Don’t you know that Charlotte has a rear-view mirror ordinance?

At the April 27 UVM bike race I talked to several bikers and asked why they don’t have rear-view mirrors. This produced muddled answers: “It’s something racers don’t do… style…weight…I’m always going too fast for anything to be coming up on me from behind…it’s a macho kind of thing.” With some embarrassment, two bikers admitted they once had mirrors on their racing bikes and still have them on their touring bikes. But nobody challenged the assumption implicit in my question, namely that mirrors contribute to safety.

A supply of rear-view mirrors has now arrived at the Charlotte Library. Go and get one. They will be given away free of charge, in honor of our would-be-great President Trump, a man who is in dire need of a tiny little smidgen of honor from somewhere.